I feel we should begin the latest Blog with an apology.
With the best intentions of making this a bi-monthly feature, I’m staggered to discover that our last entry now makes this entry look more an annual event.
Indeed the last topics were almost Covid era. Those empty streets and directives to publicly exercise just once a day, seem a lifetime away. But the response to the challenge in terms of vaccine developments, release and administering shows abundantly what we can achieve with determination, purpose and positive intent. Thus armed, we are capable of defeating anything, this enormous climate challenge included.
For us as a business, Covid threw up its own challenges. A significant proportion of our customer base in the education sector, effectively closed shop.
What transpired on full return though, has exceeded our expectations. We’ve experienced regular and consistent growth before, over many years. We used to say “we’re good but there’s obviously something else going on”. That something else of course was the result of a generations work in schools, with primary teachers especially making pupils aware of the importance of water for health and the responsible management, retention and reuse of bottle packaging.
That generation we sense has in turn educated its own young in those virtues. So, the consequential growth in reusable packaging in a sense becomes exponential. New parents now and their children in turn, for whom carrying a refillable water bottle has become the norm.
But the growth the reusable bottle market has experienced over the past year, suggests the transition may be even bigger than we think. Secondary schools are one good example. For more than a decade, primary schools were our principal school market, led by a school’s duty of care in ensuring good re-hydration practices. Secondary school pupils could typically look after themselves, BYO as it were.
By 2022 that ratio had noticeably rebalanced itself and what was equally interesting, had become as much pupil generated as staff. Inspired perhaps by the Attenborough effect and by a generation too of ‘ex-primary pupils’ schooled in reusable disciplines; enquiries poured in. We were amazed and delighted to note how many of these had been generated through pupil-power. “Why is our school not facilitating better mains-fed refilling?”.
It helped too of course that our reusable bottle business runs in parallel with our sister operation Hydrachill, which can offer schools a comprehensive solution to include their customised water refilling stations.
Undoubtedly 2023 will offer new challenges. Events in Ukraine, energy and inflationary pressures may yet impact the growth curve. What they will not do however is impact the trend towards greater reuse and refilling. That’s increasingly now embedded in both thinking and practise. A generation taught the talk, now walking the walk. Long may that grow.
Happy New Year. See you again in ’24?